NEWS

No Free Assistance From Trinidad and Tobago After Storm

Prime Minister (PM) Persad-Bissessar says her Government will only assist its Caricom neighbours if T&T benefits from the arrangement.

2010/11/02 12:00 AM

By: gop

Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) will not be giving any handouts to those other Caribbean territories recently affected, and in some cases ravished by the Tropical Storm Tomas, which later became a hurricane.

This is according to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar who in a statement at a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's said T&T might be willing to assist its Caricom neighbours, but certain stiplations must be attached in order that her government could benefit.

She further said that any aid would only come after discussions with her Cabinet colleagues as well as the Opposition Leader.

Persad-Bissessar said she has received a call from the Prime Minister of St Vincent while Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan had been in contact with his counterparts in Barbados and St Lucia, territories in the region which have been hit by Tomas.

The Manning government had been severely criticised by Trinidad and Tobago nationals for giving assistance to Caribbean countries especially in non-emergency situations.

Persad-Bissessar said it was St Vincent Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who reported to her that that island was devastated. He revealed that over 600 homes were completely destroyed, infrastructure damaged and the agricultural sector ravaged, she said. "The Prime Minister indicated that not a plantain or banana tree was standing," Persad-Bissessar added.

In a telephone interview in the Newsday newpaper Prime Minister Gonsalves said, "I spoke to Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar earlier today while she was on tour of the devastation caused by Tomas in Tobago. She said she would try her best, and later today, I am supposed to write an official letter seeking assistance to her," Gonsalves revealed.

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